Mid-Week League; Game 4
Captain’s Log, 9th June, 2009
Travelling back from London “The Captain” was disturbed from his copy of “The Monmartre Investigaion” (by Claude Iznar), by the sound of his mobile ringing.
“Hello, this is Michael” said the voice on the line, without hesitation “The Captain” replied defensively “That’s impossible, it was alive when I sold you it”!!,…’No,no I play cricket for Rothwell I’m just ringing to rearrange the mid-week fixture, can you do next Wednesday”? said the confused sounding Michael.
“Oh, that should n’t be a problem, rather than lose the fixture to the weather we’ll be there next Wednesday”, replied the relieved Captain, (still sure that a rabbit would fit in the post).
Nearer to the Game;
Closing in on match day Nostell had the problem of recruiting sufficient numbers to form a side, “Ribston” had claimed H-Bomb and ‘Slick”, and “Mad Dog” the “Previously Depressed ” Jason was attending a ladies hockey game!, Paul Ellis could make “any day” but Wednesday and Martha was busy at a cart wheel seminar.
At the point of forfeit “The Stoke” suggested two school teacher pals who might fancy a game , “perfect bring them along they’ll both get a game” said the Captain.
With that sorted a phone call was made (accompanied by a swift cash transaction) and the last name on the team sheet was confirmed as Steve “I’ll keep the engine running” Widdowson.
Introducing the new recruits, Long Bob and Richie Brazil, while also introducing Phil “LaMotta” Brown to the few who had not met him before the Captain knew the Nostell team were about to face their biggest task to date.
Prior to the start of the game the talk in the Nostell dressing room had been of Rothwell being undefeated and that it was known they had previously imported a “seamer who swung it” and a girl “who spun it both ways”. Not sure if these were cricketing terms or a reference to some sort of ritual that took place in large open spaces the Captain decided to lead from the front and open the innings taking with him Mal “Village People”Green.
The conditions were exceptionally wet and the ball was always going to skid through, perhaps what was n’t expected was the early bounce extracted from the surface by the tall (imported) opening bowler.
The “Captain” took the first ball , playing it off his chin to the vacant short mid wicket area and calling Mal through for a quick single, Nostell were off the mark. However, the aroma that the Captain detected eminating from Mal as they passed in mid wicket caused a concern that needed addressing immediately.
Looking back down the wicket the Captain was struck by Mal’s “caught in the headlights” eyes, “Don’t worry Mal just get in line and cover up, let it hit you until you feel in” offered the Captain.
For the next four deliveries Mal swung his arms like a man drownding as the ball whistled around the stumps until finally the over was complete. “I’ve played myself in now’”said Mal resembling a disheveld windmill, thank god for that thought the Captain my heart can’t stand it.
To Mal’s credit from that point he took on a good bowling attack and looked good himself until he was finally out having scored 19 runs. Mal dislikes opening the innings but listened and played for the team making a valuble contributed in difficult playing conditions, well done sir!. The next batsmen due in the middle were the “Rowett brothers” unfortunately both in quick succession.
Firstly, the “Young Captain”, determined to continue his good form of late.
“Centre please” asked the “Young Captain”
Thats centre” replied umpire Crossland adding ” but your standing at the non strikers end”,
“Oh sorry”, finally getting in place the Young Captain was quick to get off the mark scoring 2 confident runs but was even quicker getting back to the dressing room following his next over dismissal… (Ed, I told him he was a bowler!).
Enter Matt Rowett in what proved to be his only mid week appearence. “He only likes his eggs boiled for 2 minutes “shouted the oppo’s Ken Atkinson, indeed, following two forward defensives Matt “two minute” Rowett was clean bowled and like his brother was back in the dressing room hoping his new nickname, like his shot would soon be forgoten , (unlike the Young Captain who remembered the shot but forgot where he’d put his hair).
The Nostell innings was in freefall when first Long Bob (1 ) and then the Captain, who to that point had been aggressive in defense,(21) were both out in quick succession, leaving the team on a lowly score of 48 – 5.
Any remaining hopes of a competitive total lay firmly in the hands of the lower middle order, Richie Brazil was rusty, “LaMotta” was a rookie and “Our Dale” was showing symtoms of recent substance abuse. This insignificance did n’t deter “LaMotta” as he hooked a ball for six to the mid wicket boundary like a man un-phased by a traffic signal failure and in doing so provided a platform for the first meaningful partnership of the innings between Richie and “Our” Dale.
With a credible degree of application and no regard for authordoxy “Our” Dale and Richie put together a partnership that was as unexpected as appreciated by the onlooking Nostell team, “Our Dale” hitting 27 while Richie contributed 20 odd contributing to a final team total of 106-8.
To the Rothwell reply, the total was very achievable but the new found Nostell togetherness and attitude would mean that Rothwell would have to earn the victory not be given it. Opening the bowling Scott “My Mum’s A Singer & Single” Bishop bowled 4 lively overs taking the wicket of the big hitting Danby, while conceeding only 17 runs in a spell that was perhaps his best of the season and one that certainly set the benchmark for the more experienced bowlers who were to follow.
And follow they did, on from the “sight screens along way off and in the coniffer end” came Matt “two minute/sicknote” Rowett. Bowling like a man determined to make Scott look good Matt finished unrewarded going for 7.25 per over,( Ed note; Thanks Matt we’ll give you a ring….later!)
The “Boy from Brazil” had a go next, Richie employing the “take the pace off it” approach slowed down any progress Rothwell had made in chasing the total of 106. However, the “Captain” misjudging Richie’s lack of stamina, following a long break from cricket and rehabilitation from a “Ronnie Biggs” type Brazilian lifestyle, allowed him to bowl the dreaded “one over too many” which in turn handed the momentum back to Rothwell.
Needing wickets and quick the “Captain” tossed the ball to his trusted swing bowler, who tossed it straight back, so instead the Young Captain came on from the “dark imposing moorland end”. Shout’s of encouragement rang out from around the field,
“Send him back Jim” hailed “Long Bob” on the boundary
“Let’s hear em’ rattle” called the “Stroke” from mid wicket
“Baking apple’s 1 pound a bag!” shouted the “Captain”, (sensing a theme, but not sure as to what it was)
Indeed, wickets did fall the Young Captain taking 2 for 11 in an inspired spell of short on a lengh bowling, but it was n’t to be enough. The game was all but lost when “Our” Dale came on to ball his two deliveries, the winning runs coming from a four hit to the mid wicket boundary, Rothwell had reached the target with only 3 wickets down.
The Nostell team walked off defeated but once again had not given an inch staying with the game all the way to it’s conclusion, great work brothers.
The momentum would change, the “Captain” was confident ,there were still four games to go. However, the “Captain” knew if there was to be change of fortune for next weeks game, (agains’t hard hitting Crofton) he needed to recall the flambouyant Lee “Slick” Hirst for his WICKET KEEPING!!! prowess to help ensure victory was achieved.